In a “Day Without Latinos” event, thousands of protesters packed the streets of Milwaukee’s predominantly Latino south side neighborhood to protest Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s plan to enroll his deputies in a federal program that allows them to act as immigration agents.
The march, organized by advocacy groups that included Voces de la Frontera, proceeded to the Milwaukee County Courthouse where several people spoke.
“I feel blessed and energized to see God’s great diversity here today. I come here as a member of Milwaukee’s Muslim community and a fellow immigrant. I’m here to tell my Latino brothers and sisters that we are one humanity. We stand with you!” Janan Najeeb, a prominent member of Wisconsin’s Muslim community, told the crowd that had gathered. “I want you to stand proud and dignified. We have shown the power of the people. This is a struggle between people who stand for brotherhood, compassion, mercy and justice and dignity on one side and those that stand for hatred, racism, and xenophobia, and injustice on the other side.
“We will always stand on the side of justice …. and justice always wins,” she added. “I can’t get over the hypocrisy: People who claim concern for unborn fetuses yet they turn their back on living, breathing, walking, talking human beings. They are willing to split families apart while claiming a monopoly on family values. What kind of ideology is that?”
Last February, thousands attended a “Day Without Latinos” rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol here in Madison. Today, protestors held Mexican and American flags and chanted “Si, Se Puede” as they made their way into downtown Milwaukee to the county courthouse. Latinos and others from at least 15 cities from across Wisconsin traveled by bus to be part of the march.
“This country is made strong by immigrants,” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele told the crowd. “One hundred years ago today, this crowd was German immigrants. Did that make us weaker? No. It made us stronger. This isn’t a Republican issue or a Democratic issue … this is an American issue.”